BioNTech starts human trial to test malaria vaccine

BioNTech on Friday initiated an early-stage study to evaluate
its experimental malaria vaccine in humans, the German drugmaker
said, Trend reports
citing Reuters.

The Phase 1 trial is expected to enrol 60 volunteers in the
United States with no history of malaria to assess the vaccine
candidate at three-dose levels.

Known as BNT165b1, it is the first vaccine candidate from
BioNTech’s malaria project, which will also establish vaccine
production in Africa.

The effort is one of several focused on addressing the
mosquito-borne disease that kills over 600,000 each year, most of
them children in Africa. The complicated structure and lifecycle of
the malaria parasite has long stymied efforts to develop

After decades of work, the only approved malaria vaccine,
Mosquirix, made by British drugmaker GSK (GSK.L), was this year
endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), but a lack of
funding and commercial potential has thwarted GSK’s capacity to
produce as many doses as needed.

Another keenly-watched effort is a malaria vaccine from Oxford
University. Mid-stage trial data was published in September.

No direct comparisons have been made, but some scientists
suggest the Oxford shot is a step forward from Mosquirix and
provides longer immunity.

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